Ineffective Psychotropic Drugs Continue to Be Prescribed for Anorexia Nervosa

New study just published from the River Centre Clinic, a specialized eating disorder treatment program, shows that research evidence is rarely followed in prescribing psychotropic drugs to anorexia nervosa patients.

Treatment recommendations suggest medication should not be the primary treatment for eating disorders (ED) and empirical evidence demonstrates their ineffectiveness in anorexia nervosa (AN). New study just published from the River Centre Clinic, a specialized eating disorder treatment program, shows that research evidence is rarely followed in prescribing psychotropic drugs to AN patients. The study of 501 ED patients showed that 84% of the AN patients were on psychoactive medications before they enter treatment. Importantly, the study showed that AN patients were receiving a similar high frequency of psychotropic prescriptions despite the lack of empirical support, as compared to bulimia nervosa (BN) patients where there is at least some evidence for effectiveness. 

The study showed that forty-one different psychotropic medications (891 prescriptions in all) were prescribed for 429 of the AN and BN patients.  Antidepressants were most commonly prescribed (89.5% of those on medication).  According to David Garner, Ph.D., the lead author of the study, this widespread prescription of psychotropic medications in AN is troubling given the evidence-based consensus spanning more than 20 years indicating that they do not have a meaningful impact on weight gain, ED symptoms, or comorbid psychopathology in AN."

In sum, the apparent increase in medication use in AN despite data indicating it is ineffective is troubling in light of the breadth and weight of the evidence that has been published on the subject.  There appears to be little relationship between evidence-based practice guidelines for pharmacotherapy and clinical practice as it is conducted in the community.  This study adds to a growing body of research suggesting that mental health professionals tend to base treatment on their training, clinical experience or theoretical orientation rather research evidence. 

According to David Garner, Ph.D., the lead author of the study, this widespread prescription of psychotropic medications in AN is troubling given the evidence-based consensus spanning more than 20 years indicating that they do not have a meaningful impact on weight gain, ED symptoms, or comorbid psychopathology in AN."

David Garner, Ph.D.

President & CEO, River Centre Clinic

Paper Reference: Garner, DM, Anderson, ML, Keiper, CD, Whynott, R. Parker, L (2016) Psychotropic medications in adult and adolescent eating disorders: clinical practice versus evidence-based recommendations. Eating and Weight Disorder Journal, First Online 2/1/16 

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40519-016-0253-0?wt_mc=internal.event.1.SEM.ArticleAuthorOnlineFirst

River Centre Clinic:

www.river-centre.org

Video:

https://vimeo.com/135051542

For further information contact:

David M. Garner, Ph.D.

President and CEO

River Centre Clinic

5465 Main Street

Sylvania, OH 43560

Phone: 419-276-8800

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Categories: Healthcare, Drug Care, Psychiatry and Psychology


About River Centre Clinic

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Specialized Eating Disorder Treatment Facility providing Partial Hospitalization for Adults and Adolescent Residential Treatment

Dr. David Garner
River Centre Clinic
River Centre Clinic
5465 Main Street
Sylvania, OH 43560
United States